Generations in American History as outlined by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book: Generations, The History of America's Future.

for a more detailed account going back further in history see William Murray's Time Page.

Missionary Generation (born 1860-1882):

 an inner-driven, moralistic "idealistic"

 "moral" sons rebelled against "laborious" fathers.

 tended to join fanatical crusades such as William Jennings Bryan's crusade against the gold standard, religious fundamentalism, settlement house movement, eugenics, women's suffrage, birth control

 tended to split into opposite camps, such as rural evangelicals vs. social gospel

 tended to be detached from material realities, focused on mind and spirit, the "inner life".

 active in many reform movements, fond of stating principles

 big wave of campus rebellions, participation of students in settlement house movement

 heavy involvement in missionary activities, support for foreign aid and involvement

Lost Generation (born 1883-1900):

 An alienated, "reactive," cynical generation which challenges the ideals of their parents and develops into pragmatic, risk-

taking adults.

 an inter-war generation, recovering from WWI and preparing for WWII

 Great Depression was cruelest blow, robbing them of their peak earning years

 lacked confidence in moral judgments, high in "realism," very effective as leaders in WWII

 accused of being shallow, amusement-seeking creatures

 few crusaders or reformers, many writers and critics

 adult narcotics use became common among their generation, homicide and suicide increased, educational accomplishment


 high proportion of immigrants, high proportion of Republicans

 disillusioned and weary by age 17, cynical, impressed by disasters such as the sinking of the Titanic

 as old men, they didn't grow wise, they grew careful

G.I. Generation (1904-1924):

 an outer-driven, "civic" morally complacent generation which institutionalizes many of the ideals of the previous


 throughout their lives, America's confident and rational problem-solvers

 high achievers in war, peace, science, business, community life

 cleaned up the squalor and decay left by previous generations

 Superman the most enduring comic strip character, symbolizing unstoppable energy

 valued outer life over inner life

 traditional sex role and family life attitudes, child centered homes

 received many advantages in education, health, financing for homes and businesses, etc.

 growth of the scouting movement

 most affluent generation of the 20th century

 most upbeat or "copacetic" generation of their time

 this-worldly, declining interest in religion

Silent Generation (born 1925-1942):

 A hypocritical, "adaptive" generation which coasts along on the accomplishments of the civics, laying the groundwork for

a new idealist era.

 "we had no leaders, no program, no sense of our own power, and no culture exclusively our own"

 a "Lonely Crowd" of outer-directed personalities

 a "helpmate" generation, people who tended to be in the "second-in-command" role

 looked to the G.I. generation for role models, and tried to refine and perfect their accomplishments

 as students, "so tractable and harmonious as to be incapable, twenty or thirty years hence, of making provocative


 generation of bureaucratizers, building institutions and organizations

 early marriage and child bearing, often leading to dissatisfaction in later life

 "sexual revolution" and "divorce epidemic" - restoration of traditional sex roles leads to feminist reaction

 never expected to accomplish great things, content to settle down

Boom Generation (born 1940-1960):

 An inner-driven, "idealist" moralistic generation which comes of age during a period of spiritual awakening and develops a

new creedal passion.

 Woodstock, counter-culture, "Aquarian conspiracy," rebellion against conventional family life

 pampered by parents, expect the world to take care of them

 tend to make plans or judgments according to internalized, immutable principles of right and wrong

 focus on inner life, seek perfection of religious impulses and reduction of dependence on the physical self

 "consciousness revolution" rebelling especially against their fathers

 "generation gap" - disagreed with G.I.'s on just about everything, looked down on the Silent Generation

 favored spiritualism over science, gratification over patience, negativism over positivism, fractiousness over

conformity, rage over friendliness, self over community

 "doing your own thing" an ideal

Chapter 11 in Ted Goertzel's Turncoats and True Believers discusses key figures of this generation. Contrast of Hayden vs Hoffman. Jerry Rubin, Michael Harrington, Philip Agee, Podhoretz, Cleaver, Horowitz and Collier. The libertarians, Hess and Rothbard. Do they have a common generational style, despite different politics. Ted Goertzel's FBI file as an illustration.
This generation is usually discussed in terms of its impact on middle class youth, especially college students. What was its impact on minorities, the underclass in particular. In The Dream and the Nightmare, Myron Magnet, argues that the contemporary underclass is a result of ideas promulgated by sixties radicals which have taken root in ghetto.  Opposing arguments: Michael Harrington, The Other America; William Ryan, Blaming the Victim, Kevin Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor, William Julius Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged, the Ghetto Underclass, and mostsociological texts on the subjects.

Thirteenth Generation (born 1960-1981):

 An alienated, "reactive" cynical generation which challenges the ideals of their parents and develops into pragmatic, risk-
taking adults.

 worried that the world is gearing up to punish them down the road

 concerned with making a comfortable living, not with a meaningful philosophy of life

 older generations see them as frenetic, physical, slippery, wasted "numb and dumb" generation

 driven more by appetites than ideas

 increase in street crime, drug abuse

 legalized abortion, two career families, unable to afford traditional family life based on one-income

 concern about declining U.S. economy, closing off of economic opportunities

 end of Cold War, country no longer seen as a leading an important "cause" on the world stage

The Internet Generation or the Millennial Generation (born 1982-2???)

  According to the Strauss-Howe model this should be  an outer-driven, "civic," morally complacent generation which will institutionalize many of the ideals of the previous generations.

  Strauss and Howe have more on the Millenial Generation in their new book, the Fourth Turning   Their WEB site describes it as follows:  The Millennial Generation first arrived when “Babies on Board” signs appeared.  As abortion and divorce rates ebbed, the popular culture began stigmatizing hands-off parental styles  and recasting babies as special.  Child abuse and child safety became hot topics, while books teaching virtues and values became best-sellers. Today, politicians define adult issues (from tax cuts to deficits) in terms of their effects on children.  Hollywood is replacing cinematic child devils with child angels, and cable TV and the internet are cordoning off “child-friendly” havens.  While educators speak of “standards” and “cooperative learning,” school uniforms are surging in popularity.  With adults viewing children more positively, U.S. test scores are faring better in international comparisons.

  Does the emergence of this new generation help to explain why crime and welfare dependency are down, the economy is up, and the United States is the leading force in a new world order?

  Is growing up online the defining characteristic of this generation - will it come to be known as the "Internet Generation?"  The trademark Gen iTM has been copyrighted by  which describes it as:  diverse, adventurous, Web-centric, unpredictable.  They don't have much of an analysis of how the Internet Generation will differ from others, but they are sure advertisers can reach it through their WEB site.